BY TORDUE SALEM
ABUJA —The National Assembly will throw out the proposal by the Presidency to create a Sovereign Wealth Fund to pool together the resources meant for all tiers of government, Rep. Leo Ogor, has said.
An Executive Bill pending before the National Assembly, entitled “Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority Bill”, seeks in part, according to its explanatory note, “to receive, manage and invest in (a) a diversified portfolio of medium and long-term investments for the benefit of future generations of Nigerian citizens.”
The Bill is listed in the National Assembly Journal, dated: December 13, 2010.
But, the legislator tore the proposed Bill to shreds in a chat with Vanguard, insisting that it was unnecessary and superfluous, as it conflicted with the purpose of the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation.
“We don’t need a Sovereign Wealth Fund because we already have a Consolidated Revenue Fund established by the constitution to be shared by the states and the Federal Government,” he said.
According to him, “this kind of Bill should not be brought to Parliament; we don’t need it; we should be thinking of better and more serious things like the implementation of budgets as passed by the National Assembly, not this kind of Bill.
“I and other lawmakers will make sure this Bill is thrown back to where it belongs. We cannot pass it, it is not necessary”.
Section 80(1) of the 1999 Constitution states that: All Revenues or other moneys raised or received by the Federation (not being revenues or other moneys payable under this constitution or any Act of the National Assembly into any other public fund of the Federation established for specific purpose) shall be paid into and form one consolidated revenue fund”.
The said Bill has, for a considerable time since the executive mooted the idea early last year, been generating a pre-debate controversy.
But the Minister of Finance, Mr. Segun Aganga, had maintained on difference occasions that the proposal to create the said fund was different from the Consolidated Revenue Fund and was not an attempt to duplicate the functions of the Consolidated Revenue Fund as contained in section 80 of the 1999 Constitution.
The Senate and House of Representatives are expected to resume next Tuesday to consider several pending bills, including the Sovereign Wealth Fund Bill.